We interviewed the Bristol student who rowed the Atlantic solo

Callum Gathercole now holds the world record


While most of us struggle to even make it to the gym, one Bristol student has taken his passion for sports a bit further. Callum Gathercole recently returned from his record-breaking solo row across the Atlantic Ocean, and so we caught up with him to find out what this experience was like.

How did you prepare for the challenge? 

To prepare I put on 15kg of fat and some muscle. I also did a few really long sessions on the rowing machine to help mentally. I did two 10 hours at each of the Ignit10n events, I also broke the under 19 lightweight world record for 100km.

What was the best moment of this whole experience? 

A few weeks in I saw a pod of dolphins which had to be one of the best moments, they came right around the boat, it seemed like they were everywhere.

What was the hardest part of it all?

The worst moment would have to be one of the headwind days, rowing would feel really heavy and the realisation that I would have to continue for another 12 hours or so was really difficult.

Callum Gathercole celebrates at the finish line of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge CREDIT TED MARTIN

What did you miss the most about being at home/on land? 

I really missed talking to people face to face. Talking to people on the phone is good and I’d really look forward to that but it’s not quite the same, especially when it keeps breaking up.

Would you undertake the challenge again?

Absolutely! Although there were difficult times, in general it was a great experience and the feeling of coming into Antigua was incomparable.

Were you hoping to inspire others? 

Yeah, if it inspires anyone to get out there and raise some money for a good cause then that’s fantastic.

What was the reaction to your arrival like?

The reception at the finish line was completely overwhelming and more than I could have possibly imagined. It was great to see so many people come out to see me in. Some of my friends had come to see me in at the airport, though as my flight was early and my phone had broken I managed to miss them completely. It’s been really good to see them since.